Thus was I directed by the museum guard when I inquired the way to the New American Wing. Duly following his instructions, I arrived at the Temple.
The Temple of Dendur was one of several monuments of antiquity threatened with permanent submersion by the construction of the Aswan high Dam in Egypt. Work on this massive project was begun in 1960; the Dam was officially opened in 1970.
Meanwhile, Egypt had requested aid from the world’s nations in saving some its most precious monuments. The U.S. gave 16 million dollars. The reward for this generosity was a gift to the nation of the Temple of Dendur. The Metropolitan Museum was chosen to receive it, as the Met had the necessary resources for preserving and displaying the structure; the museum also already had substantial holdings of Egyptian antiquities and so could provide the structure with a context.
Click here for the specifics of the Temple of Dendur at the Met’s site.
This is the fourth and final pre-American Wing post. To read the preceding three, click here, here, and here.) But before we leave Ancient Egypt behind (as have so many others!), I’d just like to add this small postscript. Among the Met’s ancient Egyptian treasures is a small faience figurine of a brilliant blue color. Known colloquially as ‘William the Hippopotamus’, this diminutive object is the Met’s unofficial mascot. I found to my delight that a stuffed iteration of said hippo was available in the “Met Kids’ section of the Met’s vast gift shop (possibly my favorite retail establishment in the world). Accompanying this plush toy is a board book entitled One Blue Hippo.
There was no question but that this excellent merchandise must be acquired for an equally Excellent Little Person: